Township (South Africa)

Township (South Africa)

In South Africa, the term township usually refers to the (often underdeveloped) urban living areas that, under Apartheid, were reserved for non-whites (principally black Africans and Coloureds, but also working class Indians). Townships were usually built on the periphery of towns and cities.

Apartheid townships

During the Apartheid Era blacks were evicted from properties that were in areas designated as "white only" and forced to move into townships. Legislation that enabled the Apartheid government to do this included the Group Areas Act. Forced removal from city centres to townships has continued in post-apartheid South Africa. The difference is that under apartheid all black people faced forced removals to townships while now it is only the poor living in shack settlements that face eviction to townships on the peripheries of cities. In Cape Town and Durban this has given rise to mass resistance. [ See, for instance, the website of Abahlali baseMjondolo]

The new townships being built to house people forcibly removed from shack settlements have much smaller houses than those built under apartheid and are often, but not always, even further from city centres than apartheid era townships. However some old townships have seen rapid development since 1994, with, for instance, wealthy, and middle-income areas growing up in parts of Soweto, Chatsworth etc.

Townships for non-whites were also called "locations" or "lokasie" (Afrikaans translation), and are often still referred to by that name in smaller towns. The term "Kasie", a popular short version of "Lokasie" is also used sometimes to refer to townships.

Townships sometimes have large informal settlements nearby.

Despite their origins in apartheid South Africa, today the terms township, location and informal settlements are not used pejoratively. However policy makers are, as in the 1950s, once again using the term 'slums' in a highly pejorative way.

Most South African towns and cities will have at least one township associated with them. Today they are often viewed as just one of the many suburbs that an urban area might have.

Tourists should not be misled by what at first they might think is a dirty conurbation. Whilst the majority of township residents are poor, the cleanliness of their homes is often immaculate.

When you see hundreds of finely dressed African workers and shoppers in the town centres, tourists are often surprised to find that the vast majority still live in the townships.

Well known townships include Atteridgeville, Azaadville, Bekkersdal, Boipatong, Botleng, Bophelong, Chatsworth, Daveyton, Diepmeadow (Diepkloof and Meadowlands), Dobsonville, Duduza, Eersterust, Evaton, Galeshewe, Guguletu,Nyanga, Zwide, Mfuleni, Hammanskraal, Impumelelo, Kagiso, Katlehong, Khayelitsha, Kayamandi,Khutsong, KwaThema, KwaMashu, Laudium, Lenasia, Langa, Mamelodi, Masiphumelele, Mdantsane, Mitchell's Plain, Mohlakeng, Munsieville, Orange Farm, Phoenix, Ratanda, Refengkgotso, Refilwe, Reiger Park, Roshnee, Sebokeng, Sharpeville, Soshanguve, Tembisa, Thokoza, Tsakane, Umlazi, Vosloorus, Wattville, Zamdela, and Zithobeni, amongst others.

Legal meaning

The legal meaning of the term township in South Africa differs from the popular usage. They are used on land titles, and subdivided into erfs (yards, as in the land your house is built on). An example of this can be seen at [] [] , where areas of various kinds, regardless of the racial makeup of their populations are described as townships. The term township can thus also mean a designated area or district. For instance "Industrial Township" has been used in reference to an industrial area, e.g. "Westmead Industrial Township", in Pinetown, South Africa.Kayamandi. A township of 40,000 inhabitants.

ee also

*Racial segregation
*Township tourism

External links

* [ Cape Town Magazine on Townships]

* [ etownship - news, views and profiles from the townships of cape town]

* [ "Cape Town Journey of Remembrance" - political and historical Tour through the Townships et al., facilitated by anti- Apartheid activists who live there themselves]


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